Sun, 18 Nov 2012 06:42:20 -0800
Went to hear Hal Holbrook in Hannibal last night and he was wonderful, of course. I had an interesting experience. Before the show started, the lady next to me asked why we were in the somewhat tatty high school auditorium instead of the shiny new auditorium at the college? In Hannibal, the college is Hannibal Lagrange University, a Southern Baptist institution where last year's booster dinner speaker was Mike Huckabee. At good ol' HLG a ballot for the GOP is strongly held to be a ballot cast for Jesus. (Huckabee was a controversial choice because he is a tad moderate compared to the social warriors who have spoken before.) I asked the lady next to me if she had read much Twain and she assured me she had read the entire Hannibal Canon -- Tom and Huck. I couldn't suppress my Irishness, so I smiled and said, "Maybe the college hall wasn't available?" Hal Holbrook took the stage. The first half he spoke almost entirely
on religion and politics. At the intermission, I stood to stretch my legs and soon felt a tug on my sleeve. I looked down at the lady. She gazed at me for a moment with a dazed expression. Her pupils were dilated and there was the faintest tremble to her face. Finally she said, "Well, I understand why we aren't at the college." Nice to see that Twain's words still have that kind of power.